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Boost for science to help faster economic growth

Boost for science to help faster economic growth

The Government is boosting economic growth through a major increase in support for research, science and technology, with the Budget providing $321 million over four years for new initiatives.

“Science and innovation are at the heart of the Government’s economic growth programme,” Research, Science and Technology Minister Wayne Mapp says. “This new funding comes on top of the Government’s reform of the science sector.

“We have implemented the most significant changes to the system in 20 years: Crown Research Institutes will be working for the benefit of New Zealand as a whole; and the merger of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and the Ministry enables proper integration of their work.

“The new initiatives and these improvements will help keep New Zealand businesses competitive, make this country a more attractive place for the best science and help build a more innovative and successful nation.”

The initiatives include increased support for business research and development, prestigious new science fellowships and new science infrastructure.

The moves are supported by $225 million in new funding and $96 million in reprioritised funding. Total operational funding through Vote RS&T for 2010/11 is now $752 million.

The centrepiece of the extra funding is a $234 million boost for supporting business R&D over four years, announced by Prime Minister John Key on 11 May.

This includes:

• $189.5 million over four years for technology development grants to support R&D in firms who successfully do a significant amount of R&D.

• $20 million over four years to trial technology transfer vouchers, which will encourage links between firms and publicly-funded research organisations.

• $11 million over four years to support technology transfer from research organisations to firms, and commercialisation of new products and processes.

• $13.7 million over four years in contingency funding for initiatives to improve the transfer of technology from research organisations to the private sector.

The other major new initiatives are:

• $25 million over four years for the Rutherford Discovery Fellowships, which will support excellent early to mid-career researchers.

• $9 million over three years, starting in 2011/12, to attract top entrepreneurial science talent to New Zealand.

• $44.3 million over four years in contingency funding for proposed large-scale science infrastructure (subject to Cabinet approval).


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